Here’s how to get users to actually read your words

Have you ever picked up a book and couldn’t put it down? Perhaps you opened an email and started reading it only to realize that you were halfway there.

Have you ever wondered why you stay longer on some sites and just click away from others?

This has to do with the narrative and the words used. Yes, the written content of any website or book plays a huge role in getting our interest and attention.

As business owners, we need to be aware of this, especially when it comes to web content. Since many users are just browsing, our goal is to keep them on our websites for more than 3 seconds.

Research by the Nielsen Norman Group shows that the average user can read a maximum of 28% of the words on a website during one visit; 20% are more likely.

That is not much.

While you might think that web design, website optimization, and colorful images are important that you should focus on (and yes they are!), Don’t be so busy that you forget your text.

Surveys show that not only do most users have a pattern in reading information, but there are things YOU can do to get the most of their reading experience.

Why readability, readability and understanding are important.

1. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, “Eye tracking research shows that people scan websites and phone screens in different patterns, one of which is the shape of the letter F.They also found that 79% of test users crawled every new page they came across and only 16% read it word for word.

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So we see a pattern here. Most users have a similar pattern of crawling web content and now that we know how can we use this to our advantage to reduce our bounce rates?

2. Why is that important? The goal of any business is to ultimately keep people on their website longer; the result is a sale. This also poses a problem as studies have shown that most people shop online using their mobile device, but according to the Nielsen Norman Group, reading comprehension is lower when reading articles on mobile phones than on computers. This means that we as a company must employ all available tactics and techniques to improve the readability and readability of our web content.

3rd Ways to get readers to actually read your words. There are three things to keep in mind when writing: legibility, legibility and comprehensibility.

Let’s start with the first:


Definition (according to Nielsen Norman Group): Readability is the lowest consideration in content usability: it is about whether people can see, distinguish, and recognize the characters and words in your text. The legibility is thus mainly determined by the visual design, especially the typography.

Make sure that your text is easy to read. The font needs to be clear and make sure that it is sanded down on the background of your website and is not difficult to see. Make sure your font size isn’t too small either, so that someone can easily read it.


Definition (according to Nielsen Norman Group): Readability measures the complexity of the words and the sentence structure in a piece of content. The assumption behind this metric is that complex sentences are harder to parse and read than simpler ones. It is usually reported as the reading level (expressed as years of formal education) required to scan the text. A reading level of 12th grade means, for example, that someone with a good Abitur can read the text without difficulty.

Make sure that you don’t complicate things. Keep your sentences clear and short. Try to write in an active voice and try to keep the content at the 8th grade level. Keep your words easy to understand and do not form words or have a string of sentences.

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Please note that we are not talking about teenagers, young adults and children. When writing for this audience, you will need to use several techniques.


Definition (according to Nielsen Norman Group): Understanding measures whether a user can understand the intended meaning of a text and can draw the correct conclusions from the text. In the case of didactic or action-oriented content, we also want users to be able to carry out the intended actions after reading the text.

It can be difficult to simplify things when you are talking about a specific topic. however, do your best to keep it in lay language so that everyone can understand. Everyone who reads your text should know what you are saying. If you are targeting a specific audience (e.g. B2B marketing), familiarize yourself with the terms so that your content is not only meaningful but also relevant.

If you are writing for the cell phone, try to keep the sentences even shorter. Remember, users cannot quickly scroll back and forth and see less content on the page at the same time.

The text on your website plays a huge role in holding and communicating with your audience. Never underestimate the power it has and make sure you regularly and objectively review that your content meets the guidelines above.

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